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Resigned Darfuri students return, university dispute endures

August 22 - 2017 EL DUWEIM
Students in Sennar show their support to the Darfuri students of Bakht El Rida Universityon 22 July (RD)
Students in Sennar show their support to the Darfuri students of Bakht El Rida Universityon 22 July (RD)

The case of hundreds of students from Darfur who resigned en masse from their university in White Nile state, with 14 dismissed students and nine others held in police custody, drags-on despite numerous initiatives of MPs to solve the dispute.

On Sunday Kamal El Zein, a member of the crisis management committee at Bakht El Rida University in White Nile, told Radio Dabanga that all the initiatives asked the students who have been dismissed to write a request or apology to the university, as a condition for their return.

“But the dismissed students have rejected the idea of writing an apology or requesting mercy, and insisted they did not commit a crime nor did they violate the university regulations.”

The 14 dismissed students, supported by approximately 1,200 fellow students from Darfur who collectively resigned from Bakht El Rida in July, demanded that their case be re-investigated by the university.

As for the nine detained students who are still in police custody for the alleged killing of two police officers, they are “held in small cells and are not provided with medical or nutritional care”, El Zein told Radio Dabanga. “The police have so far not investigated their case despite repeated requests of people to do so. The detainees want to be tried in a fair trial, or released in case of no evidence against them.”

“About 400 students returned to the university under pressure from their families

Mass resignations

About 400 of the resigned students have returned to Bakht El Rida University after their families pressured them to have their academic status adjusted and continue their studies, according to El Zein.

Together with hundreds of other Darfuri students, by collectively resigning, they protested the treatment of the university administration and riot police during student clashes that erupted on 9 May. When the police violently broke up the fighting, two policemen were killed. Dozens of Darfuri students were detained that day.

The more than 1,000 students set foot to Khartoum to deliver their demands to the federal Ministry of Higher Education, but were stopped at a village south of the capital by Sudanese security service agents. The stranded students remained in the village for several days before buses transported most of them to El Fasher in Darfur. Students were not allowed to enter the city as the authorities presumed their intention was to “destabilise the city”, and many returned to their families the next day.

Fellow students in Sennar, Kassala, and Khartoum expressed their solidarity with the Darfuri students and called for re-admission of all Darfuri students to the Bakht El Rida University. Numerous initiatives of MPs in the Parliament, led by MP Siham Hassan and others by Minister of Youth and Sports Abdel Karim Musa, have not resulted in a solution to end the problem between the university and the students.

This week, two prominent leaders of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party – Ibrahim El Sheikh and Abubaker Yousif – who visited the hundreds of students in Sheikh El Yagout village, were released after being detained for two weeks.

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